Medium 9781475824193

Jspr Vol 31-N4

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The Journal of School Public Relations is a quarterly publication providing research, analysis, case studies and descriptions of best practices in six critical areas of school administration: public relations, school and community relations, community education, communication, conflict management/resolution, and human resources management. Practitioners, policymakers, consultants and professors rely on the Journal for cutting-edge ideas and current knowledge. Articles are a blend of research and practice addressing contemporary issues ranging from passing bond referenda to building support for school programs to integrating modern information.

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Notes From the Editor: Introduction to Special Issue

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G ERARDO R. LÓPEZ

I n November 2003, the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) created the Barbara L. Jackson Scholars Network to increase the pipeline of scholars of color into the field of educational leadership. This initiative provides mentoring and career development opportunities for program participants while fostering a system of support across UCEA member institutions. Through this effort, UCEA hopes to ensure the presence of minority faculty in educational leadership programs to ensure that the field reflects the diversity of our society and our schools.

This special issue is devoted to the coauthored work of UCEA Barbara L. Jackson Scholars and their mentors. As the guest editor of this special issue, I am grateful to Ted Kowalski and the entire editorial team of the Journal of School Public Relations for supporting this endeavor and for their continued support of UCEA and the Barbara L. Jackson Scholars Network. They will be pleased to know that all the manuscripts for this special issue were subjected to blind peer review and were held to all the rigorous review criteria of the journal. Note that, due to space limitations, the editorial team has agreed to release the manuscripts as two separate issues of the journal: This issue contains the remaining four manuscripts that were accepted for publication, and the previous issue published the first five manuscripts.

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Learning From Our Parents: Implications for School–Community Relations

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MOHOMODOU BONCANA
GERARDO R. LÓPEZ

ABSTRACT: This article argues that the current discourse surrounding parental involvement activity is severely limited. It begins with the premise that home-based knowledges, practices, and discourses are critically important and powerful and therefore ought to be privileged in school settings and educational research. However, authors argue that the terrain of involvement research is trapped by a logic that is neither critical nor instructive. They believe that educators, researchers, and policymakers must begin to view involvement as something other than prescriptive activities enacted in the home or school, to build compassionate, understanding relationships with all parents—particularly, those who have been historically marginalized in schools and society.

REFLECTIONS FROM TIMBUKTU (MALI): MOHOMODOU BONCANA

Icould not have become the person I am today—the first generation of my family to go to college and become an educator—without the relentless sacrifice, wisdom, care, guidance, and involvement of my parents in everything that was related to my schooling. Despite their so-called lack of formal education, my parents did everything they could to ensure that I succeeded in school. They were involved with, dedicated to, and committed to my education, and they knew that education was the most reliable venue for success and a better life. So they urged me to continue studying tirelessly. Never did my father miss the opportunity to attend meetings with my teachers and other school-related activities. As an example, whenever there was volunteer work at school, my father was among the first parents to offer his services. He constantly visited with my teachers and principals and asked them about how I was doing at school, and he felt an exceptional pride and satisfaction when he was told that I was doing well. During the evening, he would never go to bed before ensuring that I had finished doing my homework. Despite the fact that my father could not help me with my math problems, my reading assignments, or any other type of homework, he kept encouraging me to study. I still remember his encouragements when he saw me doing my homework during the nights at the dim light of the lamp or near the fireplace. He would state,

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Micropolitics, Community Identity, and School Consolidation

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WANDA M. WARNER
MONICA WILLS BROWN
JANE CLARK LINDLE

ABSTRACT: The practice of public school consolidation has a long history in the United States. School consolidation involves several stakeholders and is tied to a community’s identity. Educational leaders are faced with tough dilemmas among responding to student needs, meeting fiduciary responsibilities to constituencies, and addressing adult concerns about effects on communities. This article uses a micropolitical framework to illuminate the political and ethical dilemmas embedded in a case study that describes the consolidation of two rural middle schools.

The purpose of this article is to use a micropolitical framework to illuminate the political and ethical dilemmas surrounding the consolidation of two rural middle schools into one. In periods of economic decline, consolidation raises the dilemma of fiscal responsibility and student success in the midst of loss of community identity. Such a dilemma manifests during the political deliberation of school boards and constituents over school closures, school sites, and school building planning. The case depicts issues of micropolitics that arose in a two-community region of a larger school district. Each community adopted micropolitical tactics to counter each other, and each employed a host of political strategies when the district attempted to address declining enrollments and poor academic performance through school consolidation. To be certain, the literature is rich with descriptions of the turmoil over school closing and consolidation, and the practice of school closing and consolidation stretches over centuries in U.S. public schools. For this article, we draw from insights in the literature surrounding the politics of decline (Boyd, 1979, 1983; Boyd & Wheaton, 1983) and then use early works on the intrasystemic political negotiation tactics described by Ball (1987) and Hoyle (1982) to substantiate our analysis.

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How Leadership and Discipline Policies Color School–Community Relationships: A Critical Race Theory Analysis

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BRENDA VALLES
DANIEL M. MILLER

ABSTRACT: This conceptual article analyzes zero-tolerance discipline policies and their impact on the exclusion of Black and Brown kids from educational opportunity. We use critical race theory to deconstruct this trend. In this article, we discuss the brief history of zero tolerance and its impact on school discipline practices. We consider how racial priming creates conditions that influence how zero tolerance is disproportionately affecting male students of color and the responsibility of school leaders to combat racial attitudes through engaging in reflexive and equitable practice. We conclude by offering potential directions for research and practice that may help to begin to undo the harmful effects of this institutionalized practice.

Suppose that you are an elementary student on your way to school, and you stumble across a manicure kit similar to one that you see at home, and you think that it is kind of neat that you found it, so you put it in your pocket. Or suppose that you are a sixth-grade student and that your mother sends you to school with chicken but places a steak knife in your lunch box so that you can cut the meat. How about a scenario where you are 9 years old and bring a pack of Certs candy to school and you share it? It is easy enough to imagine these scenarios because they are typical enough—and, in fact, they are real: The 9-year-old who found the manicure kit was suspended for a day; the student who brought a steak knife with her lunch was escorted out of school by the police, taken away in a police vehicle, and ultimately suspended; and the 9-year-old who shared the breath mints was suspended for possession and distribution of “look-alike” drugs and interviewed by a police officer (Skiba & Peterson, 1999, p. 375).

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A Public Relations Nightmare: ACLU Class Action Lawsuit Exposes Inaccurate and Inequitable High School Graduation Rates

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TERRI N. WATSON
KATHLEEN M. BROWN

ABSTRACT: Florida’s decision to equate a GED to a high school diploma undermines the attempt of No Child Left Behind to close the achievement gap, while infringing on the public’s trust. Public trust fosters a culture of systemic equity and social justice, which are necessary for academic excellence (Byrk & Schneider, 2003). Florida’s code of ethics for educators and school administrators, under 6B-1.001, identifies truth, excellence, and the attainment of knowledge as the primary objectives of its educational system (Florida Department of Education, n.d.). However, the state’s definition and subsequent calculations of a high school graduate fall short of these principles. If Florida’s educational system is to be successful, school officials must create and maintain the public’s trust. Only with accurate data are teachers and administrators in a position to evaluate whether teaching and learning in high schools are improving and to identify who is progressing and who is at risk of dropping out. Ironically, while Florida is one of the few states to possess the longitudinal data system required to assess graduates as mandated by No Child Left Behind, one of its school districts was the first in the nation to be formally accused of overestimating its graduates. This study investigated Florida’s definition of a public high school graduate and the efforts of school officials to address a perceived breach of the public’s trust—a public relations nightmare.

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